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Sean Leahy

Saturday's Three Stars: Savard, Cole call for hats; Kipper steals win

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 Star: Marc Savard(notes), Boston Bruins

A night after getting pounded 5-1 by Montreal, the Bruins welcomed Phil Kessel(notes) back to TD Banknorth Garden and drubbed the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-2. Four days after signing a 7-year deal to stay in Beantown, Savard tallied a hat trick, scoring a goal in each period. Boston has now won three of its last four with a return engagement with the Maple Leafs next Thursday night in Boston.

No. 2 Star: Miikka Kiprusoff(notes), Calgary Flames

Sometimes goaltenders need to win games for their teams and that's exactly what Kiprusoff did tonight for the Flames as they beat San Jose 2-1. Kiprusoff earned his 16th win of the year and made a number of outstanding saves including this save of the year candidate:

No. 3 Star: Erik Cole(notes), Carolina Hurricanes

Cole was the offensive force for the Hurricanes who defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 at RBC Center, ending their five-game losing streak in the process. Scoring twice in the second period and then the empty-net insurance goal with 14 seconds to play, Cole notched his sixth career hat trick and first multi-goal game since March. It won't get easier for the 'Canes who play Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Washington in their next three games, all on the road.

Honorable mention: Despite his team allowing five goals, Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff(notes) ended up finishing a plus-three. Ray Whitney(notes) put home the opening goal for Carolina and assisted on two others, including the eventual game-winner. Aaron Ward(notes) notched his 100th career assist on Whitney's goal ... Ladislav Smid(notes) scored his first goal for Edmonton since April of 2007, a 151-game stretch ... Two goals in the third period by Paul Kariya(notes) were almost enough for a St. Louis win in regulation until Los Angeles' Alexander Frolov(notes) equalized with 34 seconds to play. The Blues would end up winning 5-4 in a shootout. Wayne Simmonds(notes) had two assists to extend his six-game points streak ... Patrik Elias'(notes) pretty goal in the shootout saved New Jersey's bacon in a 4-3 win over Detroit. Elias was so happy with his goal that he rushed out of the locker room after the game without talking to reporters ... Tomas Vokoun(notes) returned tonight for the Florida Panthers and stopped 36 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss to Atlanta. Stephen Weiss(notes) now has six goals in his last four games. Johan Hedberg(notes) made 30 saves to improve his record to 7-2-0 ... Washington spoiled Peter Laviolette's debut behind the bench for Philadelphia with an 8-2 rout. Nicklas Backstrom(notes) had a goal and four assists. Mike Green(notes) scored twice and assisted on two others and Thomas Fleischmann tallied twice in the first period. The Capitals were 4-for-8 on the power play ... Peter Budaj(notes) stopped 29 Columbus shots, including 15 in the third period to preserve a 3-2 Avalanche win. Wojtek Wolski(notes) scored the opening goal for the Avs and assisted on Chris Stewart's(notes) game-winner ... Facing his former team, Tuukka Rask(notes) made 31 saves and assisted on Mark Recchi's(notes) goal in the third giving him more points on the night than 14 Toronto skaters. Boston's Johnny Boychuk(notes) scored his first NHL goal. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara(notes) had a goal and an assist and finished a plus-four ... Henrik Lundqvist(notes) made 36 saves, 19 in the final frame as the Rangers got past Buffalo 2-1 ... Visiting Mellon Arena for the first time in a Chicago Blackhawks jersey, Marian Hossa(notes) scored a goal while Antti Niemi(notes) frustrated the Pittsburgh offense making 32 saves en route to a 2-1 win. Kris Versteeg(notes) put home the winner in overtime. Chicago was 44-for-74 on faceoffs ... Mike Smith's(notes) 30 saves and 2009 No. 2 overall pick Victor Hedman's(notes) first goal in the NHL were more than enough for Tampa Bay to blank the Islanders 4-0.

Did you know?: Minnesota has allowed the first goal in eight of its last nine games, but the Wild are 6-2-1 during that stretch. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Colorado had some trouble in the faceoff dot winning just 15 of 54 draws against the Blue Jackets. The game ended in controversy as Jason Chimera(notes) thought he had tied the game for Columbus, but the puck was ruled to not have crossed between the posts ... In his return to Boston, Phil Kessel was a minus-three ... While being shut out by the Lightning, the Islanders had two goals waved off due to a hand pass and goaltender interference and their power play was powerless, missing on six opportunities ... Without Alexander Ovechkin, the Capitals chased Flyers goaltender Ray Emery(notes) after he allowed five goals on 17 shots. His replacement, Brian Boucher(notes) didn't fare much better allowing three goals on 13 shots. What's going to be talked about in the morning is Daniel Carcillo's(notes) 29 penalty minutes on one play and his one punch knockout of Matt Bradley(notes):

Is that considered a sucker-punch? After the game, Carcillo said he saw Bradley drop his gloves, but Japers' Rink has the proof that tells otherwise.

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